Ravindra Jadeja’s batting graph has been on the up since the last two years. In fact, since 2016, Jadeja has a batting average of 46.29 and a bowling average of 24.97. With an average difference of 21.32, Jadeja has been the best all-rounder in world cricket in the last three years, above Ben Stokes, Shakib Al Hasan and Jason Holder.
On Sunday, Jadeja once again produced a case as to why he deserves to be part of India’s Playing XI in Tests. Coming in as a replacement for Virat Kohli, Jadeja took a wicket, a catch and when needed, played a very crucial innings on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the MCG.
Jadeja slammed his 15th Test fifty after resuming Day 3 on 40. The all-rounder was dismissed for 57 by Mitchell Starc but his innings had ensured a lead in excess of 100 for India.
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It wasn’t the kind of innings you would associate with Jadeja, but he did what was needed. He ensured India did not lose a single wicket in the final session of the day, having lost two in the previous two sessions of the day. He and Rahane added an unbeaten 104 runs for the sixth wicket to take India to 277/5, with a lead of 82 runs.
Seeing his innings unfold left former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody impressed. What Moody liked the most about Jadeja’s batting was his game awareness and the willingness to curb his natural instincts. Moody called Jadeja’s knock matured and feels the defensive aspect of his batting has improved by leaps and bounds.
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“It’s been a very good innings, no question about it. The most impressive thing for me throughout the whole innings was his robust defence. And to me, that is an area, if I was looking at Jadeja, in the rear-view mirror, and what he’s done previously is shown vulnerability from a defensive point of view,” he said on ESPNCricinfo.
What happens to Jadeja once Virat Kohli returns remains to be seen. Kohli has been a huge supporter of the five-bowler policy, and while Jadeja is an automatic pick on Indian pitches, Kohli doesn’t turn to Jadeja as quickly overseas. However, with this kind of maturity, Moody is confident that Jadeja deserves to be part of India’s Playing XI, believing he and Pant can make good No. 6 and No. 7 batsmen for India.
“To me, he showed great composure in defence. He also showed that he had the ability to play the long game in the sense that he was prepared to be patient and let the ball go well. And there was an enormous amount of maturity,” Moody added. “Does he fit in the side with Pant and him at 6 and 7? He certainly does. That’s a good enough top seven for me in Test cricket, If he’s playing with that type of maturity.”